Coworking spaces, privately-owned collaborative workspaces, have popped up around the country over the last 10 years, enabled by technology and the growth of remote work. Coworking spaces build community and connection for early-stage entrepreneurs, free-lancers, and remote workers. These spaces foster dreaming, sharing, iteration, and risk-taking through their energy, density of people, and community-building activities.
In addition, coworking spaces are at the nexus of multiple areas of economic strategy – they are among the amenities that can be offered to tourists, they serve as a hub of information and community for remote workers, they stimulate innovation, and they serve as a signal to entrepreneurs and new businesses that a community understands the value of connection.
The Coworking Development Fund and accompanying program supports the success of these spaces by providing financial assistance and opportunities for collaboration and connection between and among Maine’s coworking spaces and other collaborative work spaces.
DECD’s Office of Business Development partners with collaborative workspace businesses who are serving key roles in their local communities. Funding to replenish this program was appropriated for this fiscal year. Please email BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov if you would like to be notified when grant details are released.
For more information on the program, see the previous grant cycle program guidelines (PDF)
For more information contact BizAwards.DECD@maine.gov
Previous Grant Recipients and Coworking Cohort members include:
|Recipient||Type of space||City|
|Four Directions Development Corp.||coworking||Pleasant Point|
|Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space||coworking||Waterville|
|Union River Center for Innovation||multi-use||Ellsworth|
|487 Development Corporation||coworking||Pittsfield|
|Open Bench Project||makerspace||Portland|
|Union + Co||coworking||Bath|
|SoPoCoWorks||creative coworking||South Portland|
What are previous recipients saying about the program?
“We have seen connections created here take root and become friendships, work engagements, and community-focused initiatives. We make it our job to create the culture of the space. Our members do the rest.
Finally, we believe the cohort will continue to provide a much-needed sense of community among small business owners in our state. Often as a small business owner (especially during hard times), you can feel like you are the only one standing outside in a blizzard. The cohort alleviates that feeling a bit and offers people you can call on in a challenging situation. This assurance cannot be quantified.” - Union+Co, Bath
“Through 2020, I found great value in our new coworking cohort. Whether it was the conversations had in our calls, or the activity on the Slack channel, it was apparent everyone was there to help each other. For us more rural spaces, this seems very intuitive as we aren’t really in competition, but I was very impressed by the involvement, assistance, and flexibility offered by all the Portland area members. They are, after all, the leaders in this space in many ways, and their knowledge sharing is greatly appreciated. … I’d [also] love to find ways to do things together to help all.” - Bricks Coworking and Innovation Space, Waterville
“It has also been extremely valuable to form connections with other coworking space owners to have one on one conversations.” - Our Katahdin Opportunity Hub, Millinocket
Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature for calendar year 2021 (PDF)
Annual Report to the Governor and Legislature for calendar year 2020 (MS Word)